Don’t get me wrong. I am not an old pelican. Though I sometimes feel like one .
Ofcourse residing hairline , compensated by the numbers in my cholesterol level will reveal exactly where I am on the timeline. Let’s say “Not as young as I used to be “.
In another lifetime, when my pocket money of two rupees was spent on a plastic soldier or a sticker of “Bruised Lee” from the guy who sold them in the morning at the school gate. And Mango Achcharu from the Achchige Kade or the bright colored ice cream from the drab colored ice cream cart. I have memories of a much simpler life.
(Yet these were not the good old times, I was told . Good old times was when a month’s provisions could be bought for 1 rupee and 2 rupees were not a single coin .). Good old times were when every thing was perfect . Wise owls say there was such a time .
These were the eighties and we were in the middle of it.
The pope was shot, Michael Jackson reined high , And pop stars sang “we are the world”, four Mutant Turtles and a rat became famous over night, Iraq and Iran made war and then peace, The prince with a big nose married miss Spencer . But whatever that was happening out in the world was all in drab shade of grey to us, especially through the 12 inch black and white TV screen.. Yes there was tiger trouble , that was in Jaffna . Life in Gampaha , Maharagama , Nugegoda , Piliyandala was as usual. The Morris Minors were still the cabs and bullock carts filled with Cadjans were parked in the heart of Nugegoda town.
In the pre teens that we were , ofcourse we knew about war . That is what we played with our plastic soldiers ,( made in hong kong). That was after we finished the Pare cricket match with the rubber ball .
A Sunday at Gallpeace (Gallface green) was always a pleasant trip. The 40mins bus ride felt lot longer and the green it self felt as if it covered a good part of the western coast . Cut Pineapple were sold from basins, Kadale & Rata Kadju in paper cones .Men who had their Sarongs raised to their knees sold Issowade from cardboard boxes and Alarics ice cream van sold Icy choks. Young couples would lean on the old cannons and watch the sunset . This was before check points , Nana’s and coca cola stands.
Children from Anuradhapura, Dikwella & Batticloa , would end their educational trips to Colombo at the Gallpeace (sic). Dark figures in white school uniforms would dot the beach at dusk, washing the metro dust off their feet while an hawk eyed teacher would stay guard with her sari raised a couple of inches to avoid the playful waves . They would smile and exchange addresses and promise to write letters and some end up pen friends for life.
Such were the days. Simpler days , simpler rules.
Why this flashback is because , somebody reminded me of Pineapple and Kadale in a paper cone ,today.
I wonder whether we could go back to those times , now that we could focuss on reconciliation.
But then again for reconciliation , 1977, 1983 , 10 years ago , yesterday would have been perfect too.